17 April 2020
The Hurdles Ahead of Us: Entering the 2020s
‘People are tired, and the economic model is exhausted.’
Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, CEPAL
As we write this paper, the world is struggling with the tiny coronavirus. Our remarkable vulnerability is showing. But while we are all rushing to reduce the disaster, not to speak of finding solutions, there is also an emerging view that this is not only about the virus, it is about how we behave on this planet. We are facing the convergence of the environmental disaster, the explosive inequality, the financial chaos and the virus. Things are just not working, so we urgently need to take a broader look at our challenges. This is not about academic skirmishes. It is about us and our children.
In a nutshell, we are destroying our planet, for the benefit of a minority, while the necessary financial resources are concentrated in speculative investments. The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is explicit, so we know what has to be done. We have the money: if we divide our US$85 trillion global GDP by the world population, we can see that we produce the equivalent of US$3,700 of goods and services a month per four-member family. And there is over US$20 trillion in tax havens, basically the result of tax evasion, corruption and money laundering. We also have all the necessary information and technologies to face our challenges. Our problem is not the lack of resources, but the lack of governance. We have to reorganize the way we regulate the use of our capacities. This is about much more than economics. The key issue is governance, not a lack of means.
We are awash with information on our problematic issues, be they climate change, water pollution, deforestation, biodiversity destruction and the like. The over 800 million people going hungry is a moral iceberg, and an economic stupidity, as we have so much food on the planet. But the real challenge is that we are doing very little to face the challenges. It is a kind of institutional helplessness. We all know what should be done, we have the resources and we keep on publishing reports. The focus should now be on the social decision-making process, on institutional solutions. There are no solutions on the wailing wall. In discussions in Brazil, we suggested ten quite obvious reorientations of how our societies could be put back on track:
- Economic democracy: corporate governance must be reoriented, with transparent information, and an overall balance between the state, corporations and civil society. There can be no political democracy if it is not accompanied by basic economic democracy. Democracy for the few is not democracy.
- Participatory democracy: the decision-making process concerning our options, the prioritization of how we use of our resources, cannot depend only on a vote every two or four years. With adequate information systems, decentralized management and civil society participation we can reach a higher level of rationality and justice in economic and social organization. New technologies open huge potential that we should explore, but we are all responsible for the overall results.
- Taxation of financial transactions: this is essential both to ensure we have information on financial flows, and for the financial resources to be used to reduce inequality and to stimulate sustainable development. In reality the tax system plays an essential role in ensuring fair access to resources and their social productivity.
- Universal basic income: in the vision that everyone must have access to some basic things for a decent life, a simple and direct way, in particular considering the modern transfer techniques and the immaterial form of money, is to ensure every family has a right to the minimum. These are not costs since stimulating demand at the bottom of society generates more production and a positive social return on investment. This is sound economic policy. Money at the bottom of the social pyramid stimulates the economy, money at the top drains it.
- Universal free access to social policies: access to health, education, security, culture, shelter and other basic survival basics must be considered as absolute priorities. These should not be considered as costs, but as investment in people, for they stimulate productivity and free resources for other forms of consumption. It is an essential path towards improving family welfare without hurting the environment.
- Integrated local development: we are basically an urbanized world, and social policies to ensure the well-being of communities, as well as the sustainable use of natural resources, should be rooted in every township. Economic, social and environmental equilibrium must be ensured from the very bottom of society, at the local community level. The local communities know best what their needs and potentials are. This is not about ideology, but about sound management.
- Financial systems as a public service: the money presently managed by financial intermediaries has its origin in our savings and in the taxes we pay. These are public resources, and in this sense, should respond to the necessities of sustainable development. Public banks, community development banks, credit cooperatives and peer-to-peer credit platforms, as well as other solutions, such as local virtual money, are essential so that our development choices have the corresponding resources.
- Knowledge economy: knowledge presently has become the main factor of production. Being immaterial, and with zero marginal cost for its reproduction, we can generate a society not only duly informed, but with universal and free access to the best technology. We must revise the mess of patents, copyrights, royalties and other toll-booth policies that hamper universal access to modernity. Spreading the use of knowledge is very different to the distribution of material goods: it does not generate greater costs. More people having access to knowledge does not reduce its stock; on the contrary, it stimulates progress.
- Democratization of communications: the recent emergence of right-wing populism and erosion of democracy shows how far the means of communication can generate unsustainable distortions, deepening divisions and generating hatred and prejudice in society. A well-informed society is essential for a balanced social and political organization, as well as for an economy oriented towards the common good.
- A pedagogy of the economy: the economy depends essentially not on abstract scientific laws, but on rules adopted by society, or generated by interest groups. Economic democracy vitally depends on the widely spread understanding of how these rules work, and for whom. Obscure and falsely scientific curricula must be substituted by real economic world tools of analysis, so that we train competent managers of an economy oriented towards the common good. An approach that addresses the key problems (instead of dwelling on ‘subject matters’) and conducts an interdisciplinary analysis of the real issues, in coordination with other social sciences, would be a good start.
These suggestions basically refer to the rules of the game and the decision-making process. The governance tools must ensure the functionality of the economic systems. In this sense, they are concerned with different areas of activity and the different challenges we face, in health, education, poverty and the like. The overall approach we present here is that political democracy does not work without the corresponding economic dimension: both areas must become coherent. In the face of the present growing social, environmental, political and economic disasters, responses are urgent. And this is not just about Brazil or Poland, or the US or China: it is about all of us.
Pope Francis organized an international meeting, in March 2020, to discuss another way of looking at the economy. It was called the ‘Economy of Francesco’, and symbolically held in Assisi. The invitation mobilized Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Vandana Shiva, Muhammad Yunus, Kate Raworth and other researchers of international importance, Nobel prize winners included. The prompt response points to the fact that the world is ripe for an open discussion of what lies ahead in terms of the society we should build. And also that the challenges reach way beyond economics. What we are discussing is about a worldview and values. With our almost 8 billion inhabitants, our huge capacity for destruction, awesome technology and a primitive political culture, we are rapidly heading towards a disaster. Four decades of neoliberalism, with globalization and a fairy-tale belief that markets will self-regulate and bring about a balanced development, have brought us to this overall feeling that we have lost our North.
The Economy of Francesco initiative is a good start. Its aim is ‘to embrace young people, beyond differences in belief and nationality, for an agreement to change the current economy and humanize the economy of tomorrow: to make it more just, more sustainable and to give new prominence to excluded people’.
[…] today more than ever, everything is deeply connected and […] the safeguarding of the environment cannot be divorced from ensuring justice for the poor and finding answers to the structural problems of the global economy. We need to correct models of growth incapable of guaranteeing respect for the environment, openness to life, concern for the family, social equality, the dignity of workers and the rights of future generations. Sadly, few have heard the appeal to acknowledge the gravity of the problems and, even more, to set in place a new economic model, the fruit of a culture of communion based on fraternity and equality.
We must rethink the very function of the economic dimension in our society. After all, it must help us to live better, to serve us well, instead of us serving some mysterious economic laws. It seems we are reaching a common-sense attitude and reorganizing our arguments. An economy at our service means it should be economically viable, but also socially fair and environmentally sustainable. This triple bottom line demands a renewed balance between state, business and civil society. It is a double challenge: what we need and how to organize it.
What we produce today is largely sufficient for everyone to live in a dignified and comfortable way. Even a very limited reduction in inequality would ensure a much more balanced society. Our problem is not one of expanding production capacity, but of redefining what we produce, for whom, and with what environmental impact. The big challenge is systemic governance, a technical challenge, no doubt, but most of all ethical and political.
The world we face has become dramatically unequal, with 1% holding more wealth than the next 99%, and 26 families having more than the poorer half of the world population. In Brazil six families have more riches than the 105 million at the bottom of the pyramid. Inequality has become ethically, politically and economically unsustainable. Our 206 billionaires, according to Forbes, saw their fortunes grow by 23% between 2018 and 2019, while GDP grew by 1.1%. Child mortality is increasing.
Climate change, biodiversity loss – 52% of vertebrates in 40 years – and also forest clearances, chemical contamination, plastics in our waterways and even our food and so many other destructive processes are creating an overall environmental catastrophe.
Thus, we are facing the double challenge of reducing inequality, which means more economic democracy, and reducing the destruction of the natural support of our survival, evolving towards a sustainable circular economy.
The US$20 trillion in the tax havens we mentioned above represents 200 times what the 2015 Paris Conference so boldly decided to find for environmental policies, US$100 billion a year. The productive inclusion of many more people – ‘The Next Four Billion’ asthe World Bank calls them – is quite possible, with such a mass of idle resources and so many things to be done. Thus, our problem is not a question of means, but of deeply distorted policies of the so-called decision-making process.
The discussions concern essentially the skewed decision-making process in governments and in corporations and seek to enhance the governance tools society needs to ensure economic policies become functional. This does not concern only high-brow macroeconomic statements, but concrete policies for industry, agriculture, infrastructure and social policies. The general message that emerges is that political democracy will not work without economic democracy: these two must be coherent. And in the face of the deepening social, environmental, political and economic disasters, time looks short. As the challenges become more evident, there is an emerging conscience that our system is not working, and the search for alternatives is becoming more viable. In a way, the COVID-19 pandemic is a call for systemic change, by reducing the business-as-usual comfort.
The Economy of Francesco is not a lone example. Many proposals are being presented by research centres and even by corporations. We can say the theoretical basis for another economy is being built. Setting aside old debates concerning orthodox or heterodox economic theories, a new pragmatism can be seen, based on values, looking for what can really work, even if we face so much difficulty in getting rid of ideological banners.
Spirituality and economics? The reactions to this spiritual approach have been quite strong. But however inspiring looking up to heaven may be, we certainly do need the strength of religious feelings to build a more down-to-earth approach. We need to reconcile our daily dealings with basic needs and human solidarity. The popular Polish hymn, ‘All Our Daily Affairs’, captures this well.
In September 2019 the CEOs of 181 of the largest international corporations signed a strange declaration, basically moving from a shareholder view of their endeavours towards a more stakeholder approach, which became the motto of the Davos 2020 meeting. This is a major shift, since for decades the prevailing credo was that, in Milton Friedman’s words, ‘the business of business is business’, and that corporations, like walls, have no moral values. Corporations should enrich shareholders and not worry about systemic consequences, comfortably named ‘externalities’. The declaration, negotiated and signed at the Business Roundtable meeting, is short, but the five paragraphs are strong.
While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders. We commit to:
– Delivering value to our customers. We will further the tradition of American companies leading the way in meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
– Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.
– Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers. We are dedicated to serving as good partners to the other companies, large and small, that help us meet our missions.
– Supporting the communities in which we work. We respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.
– Generating long-term value for shareholders, who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate. We are committed to transparency and effective engagement with shareholders. Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.
At first glance this does not seem very revolutionary, just common sense, but if we consider the behaviour of major corporations throughout the world, it seems some people at the top are feeling the heat and growing more conscious of the problems they are contributing to. ‘Diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect’ are very impressive words, since practically all corporations are paying huge fines for large-scale illegalities. This is not just about Volkswagen, British Petroleum and Deutsche Bank.
Is there more than cosmetics in these corporate commitments? Knowing corporations, Joseph Stiglitz reacts with moderate optimism:
In short, unfettered capitalism has played a central role in creating the multiple crises confronting our societies today. If capitalism is to work – if it is to address these crises and serve society – it can’t do so in its current form. There must be a new kind of capitalism – what I have elsewhere called progressive capitalism, entailing a better balance of government, markets, and civil society. The discussion at Davos this year may be part of a move in the right direction, but if leaders truly mean what they say, we need to see some proof: corporations paying taxes and livable wages, for a start, and respecting – and even advocating – government regulations to protect our health, safety, workers, and the environment (Stiglitz 2020).
This cautious optimism seems adequate. But seeing the signatures of Bezos and so many CEOs from Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Citigroup and other corporate giants reversing what has been taught to us – and what we have taught – for decades is inspiring. At the very least, huge economic groups meeting to sign a public commitment suggests times are changing, and the indignation shown in so many movements throughout the world is changing what we could call the economic climate. Nobody is saying this is ‘the end of history’ any more, or that ‘there is no alternative’.
Mea maxima culpa
Even more impressive is the commitment of 130 of the major banks in the world to six basic principles: aligning with the 2030 Agenda, the Paris climate goals included; ensuring an open evaluation system of the impact of what they are funding; encouraging sustainable investment by their clients; defining social goals in consultation with stakeholders; generating an internal governance culture; and implementing transparency and accountability.
These 130 banks wield some US$47 trillion, while world GDP, just for reference, is around US$85 trillion. Seeing the signatures of notorious usurers like Bradesco and Itaú from Brazil strengthens our scepticism. The fact is that the big financial corporations, in these times of immaterial money, have the planet with which to play, and there is no global government and no global central bank. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) eventually gives some advice. Most of them manage to avoid taxation, as has been amply shown in the 2020 Davos debates. We do have the Big Four accounting firms that are supposed to keep an eye on creative accounting – so to speak – but they have become major enablers of fraud. The recent International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) report on multibillion-dollar frauds in Angola is but an example of the workings of these agencies:
Each of [them] worked for dos Santos companies long after many banks had broken ties. Deloitte served as auditor for Finstar, an Angolan satellite TV company partly owned by dos Santos, and Ernst & Young did the same for ZOPT, the company dos Santos uses to hold her stake in NOS, a major Portuguese cable TV and internet provider. KPMG served as auditor for two companies in dos Santos’ retail network and consulted for Urbinveste, dos Santos’ project-management firm. Among the Big Four, PwC played the biggest role in the dos Santos empire, providing accounting and auditing services to companies linked to dos Santos and her husband in Malta, Switzerland and the Netherlands. PwC also gave tax and financial advice to Angolan businesses owned or partly owned by the couple.
So much for compliance. The truth is that indignation, and even revolt, are spreading. The economic, environmental and social impact of what the corporations do are part of their responsibility. After 40 years of irresponsible neoliberalism, other views or attitudes are emerging. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is working on the first global taxation proposals, the BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) may reduce the race-to-the-bottom environment, a reformulated Tobin tax may generate resources and build some transparency into international financial flows.
Saez and Zucman show very clearly that our problem is not discovering what should be done:
The good news is that we can fix tax injustice, right now. There is nothing inherent in modern technology or globalization that destroys our ability to institute a highly progressive tax system. The choice is ours. We can countenance a sprawling industry that helps the affluent dodge taxation, or we can choose to regulate it. We can let multinationals pick the country where they declare their profits, or we can pick for them. We can tolerate financial opacity and the countless possibilities for tax evasion that come with it, or we can choose to measure, record and tax wealth.
Coming back to our main argument, this is not about not knowing what should be done, or not having the financial and technological means to do it. It is not even a question that we have ‘bad’ people, that is, rogue administrators in big business. It is the system. Shareholders want to maximize their earnings and have little information on the actual production process. Managers depend on maximizing shareholder earnings for their bonuses. And the overall and long-term disaster they create seems very distant when they have three months to present results. The immediate goals and personal earnings crowd out the worldview and the systemic impact. When we take the temperature of the Economy of Francesco international meeting, of the commitments of banks and corporations and the dominating discussions in Davos, we could say that nothing has changed, yet the overall worldview is changing. It is another climate change. We must change the rules.
The new rules of the game
If things are to work, along the triple bottom line – reorienting economic resources so that we stop destroying nature and drastically reduce inequalities – a new balance must be found between government, enterprise and civil society organizations. What we once believed in, checks and balances, is clearly out of order: behemoths controlling finance and information have taken over. The Roosevelt Institute has contributed to the debate with an important report, New Rules for the 21st Century (Stiglitz 2019). The starting point is simple: ‘We handed our government over to markets and handed our markets over to corporations’ (Stiglitz 2019: 8).
This is certainly a very realistic approach, based on the assumption that the economy must serve society, and not the contrary. ‘This report will illustrate the crucial need to curb corporate power and reclaim public power. We’ll show that deploying the two together is necessary to move our nation toward a future that borrows from the best of our history, amends previous mistakes, and adapts to modern times’ (Stiglitz 2019: 10). There are no ideological simplifications here, on the contrary, the political, economic and social dimensions are taken as deeply interwoven, demanding an upgraded social pact:
We argue that generalizations about government inefficiency and ineffectiveness are overblown while the negative consequences of market-based solutions are too often overlooked. Next, we show that direct public provision can not only more effectively deliver on certain goals, but it can also do so in ways that both directly address race and gender-based inequality and curb extractive behavior by private actors (Stiglitz 2019: 47).
Neoliberalism did not deliver:
History has not been kind to neoliberalism, that grab-bag of ideas based on the fundamentalist notion that markets are self-correcting, allocate resources efficiently, and serve the public interest well. Learning the lesson that neoliberalism was always a political doctrine serving special interests may be the silver lining in the cloud now hanging over the global economy (Stiglitz 2019: 1).
To take things back in hand it is important to understand that there are no ‘laws’ in economics, like we have in physics, and to which we must adapt. How things work, how we make things work, is ‘a covenant with ourselves’. This defines our present feeling of perplexity, where what we inherited is not working, and what we have ahead is cloudy: ‘We are at a rare moment in our politics when older paradigms for how we govern our society and shape our economy no longer work, and a new worldview, though emerging, is not yet dominant’ (Stiglitz 2019: 63).
It is indeed emerging. From ‘progressive capitalism’ on one side to ‘democratic socialism’ on the other simplifications are being watered down, and a new pragmatism is apparently leading the way, in the style of looking at what works, where and in what context. We certainly can learn a lot from Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons about how a knowledge-centered policy can generate overall productivity and new social and environmental balance. Kate Raworth has brought the ideologically tainted and technically deficient GDP way of measuring our results and our aims down to earth with her framework of ‘Doughnut Economics’.It does not look like rocket science but it is important in resetting the goals for which we organize our efforts. Mariana Mazzucato and her publication The Entrepreneurial State is literally debunking the absurd private versus public war. Arthur Kroeber in his China’s Economy shows how finance directed towards investment – instead of financial rent seeking – can generate high economic growth.
Studies by the New Economics Foundation on social return on investment (SROI) instead of shareholder returns certainly gives us tools to think economics in another way, while Ann Pettifor shows what Just Money could bring about. How can it be that Canada, spending US$4,400 dollars per capita on health services, presents much higher health indicators than the US, where the corresponding figure is US$10,400 dollars? Examples of sustainable and highly productive agriculture can be found in so many countries. Proximity finance through local community or cooperative banking is radically more productive, as has been shown by Ellen Brown in The Public Bank Solution. The Green New Dealis gaining political strength.
Markets can work perfectly well in regulating the production of shoes and bicycles, but certainly not when water is concerned, or health. Elinor Ostrom has shown in her book Governing the Commons the economic, cultural and social potential of local arrangements in regulating access to scarce common resources. With Charlotte Hess, in Understanding Knowledge as a Commons,she extends the commons management challenge to what is presently our main factor of production: knowledge. Jeremy Rifkin upgrades this view in his publication The Zero Marginal Cost Society,showing how a knowledge-based collaborative system, rather than markets and competition, can build a new paradigm. The overall approach is that we are too complex a for our markets or governments to be following a one-size-fits-all solution.
A particularly important area, of course, is finance. As an economic activity, it represents means, not ends. It does not work with paper money printed by governments any more, but immaterial signs on computers, emitted by banks. Since finance is essential for all the areas of the economy, its control by the so-called SIFIs (Systemically Important Financial Institutions) has literally created chaos. Who controls finance decides whether we fund oil or clean energy, luxury or basic needs. Fortunes nowadays accumulate essentially in the hands of financial intermediaries, shareholders, holdings, institutional investors and other groups that do not produce but control the results of production. Capitalism has changed.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, in particular, we have seen an impressive number of studies shedding light on how the whole financial system is mismanaged. Thomas Piketty has played an important role, as have Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Ellen Brown, Michael Hudson, François Chesnais, David Harvey, Marjorie Kelly, Ann Pettifor, Paul Dembinski, Sam Pizzigati, Hazel Henderson and many others. We presently have a solid theoretical basis and clear explanations on how financial speculation expands huge fortunes and extracts the resources we need to avoid the disasters we face. Marjorie Kelly calls it ‘extractive capitalism’.
The world is changing too deeply and too quickly for economics to be taught in a business-as-usual approach. Felicia Wong sums up the common ground for the 150-some researchers bringing new ideas:
The burgeoning new progressive worldview is grounded in a tremendous amount of complementary, overlapping, and powerful research and thinking. As we detail at this report’s conclusion, the new worldview agrees on a few big things: 1) Markets are not free-forming systems, but are structured by politics, choices, and power. 2) Those choices can guide even the biggest and most disruptive forces today, like technological change or greater global integration, toward better outcomes for more people. 3) Values matter. Post-neoliberal new progressives must define how we want the new economy to work and how we define success, based on a set of values that answer the questions ‘an economy for what purposes, and an economy for whom?’ 4) Tweaking around the edges of policy reform is insufficient. A new political paradigm is necessary, and it must be built on transformative, structural change (Wong 2020: 9).
The basic point is that we must gain control of the rules of the game. The economy may work according to a pact society chooses. When Finland decides education works better as a universal public free access system, and that teachers should be paid just as well as lawyers or engineers, there is no economic ‘law’ for this, just good sense used to make society work better. Seeing public-sector intervention as just preparing the ring for the free-market struggles may work for a few sectors, but not as a general approach. The economy is not something we must ‘understand’ and adapt to as well as we can, as if we were dealing with some forces of nature. These are the rules of the game, and we must transform and organize them according to the society we want: less destructive, more balanced and certainly more democratic. No, we are not dreaming, we are trying to avoid the nightmare.
Ladislau Dowbor, economist, is a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. His many books and technical studies, in particular The Age of Unproductive Capital, can be found free of charge at http://dowbor.org. Contact: email@example.com
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–– (2019) The Green New Deal. London: Verso.
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Raworth, Kate (2017) Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing. Online: http://dowbor.org/2017/08/kate-raworth-doughnut-economics-7-ways-to-think-like-a-21st-century-economist-chelsea-green-publishing-2017-isbn-a-economia-da-rosquinha-7-maneiras.html/
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–– (2020) ‘World Leaders Talked the Talk at Davos but We Need Some Real Change’. The Guardian, 30 January 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/30/world-leaders-talked-the-talk-at-davos-but-we-need-some-real-change (accessed 9 April 2020).
Wallace-Wells, David (2019) The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming; New York, NY:Penguin Books. Online: https://dowbor.org/2019/07/david-wallace-wells-the-uninhabitable-earth-life-after-warming-tim-duggan-books-penguin-new-york-2019.html/ (accessed 9 April 2020).
Wong, Felicia (2020) The Emerging Worldview: How New Progressivism Is Moving Beyond Neoliberalism. New York, NY: Roosevelt Institute. Online: https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/RI_EmergingWorldview_report-202001-1.pdf (accessed 9 April 2020).
 Alicia Bárcena, https://brasil.elpais.com/economia/2020-02-06/alicia-barcena-cultura-do-privilegio-naturalizou-desigualdade-na-america-latina.html (accessed 9 April 2020).
 https://francescoeconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PR_EconomyOfFrancesco_08_2019.pdf (accessed 9 April 2020).
 ‘Wszystkie nasze dzienne sprawy’, lyrics by Franciszek Karpiński (1741–1825).
 Released: 19 August 2019. Updated with New Signatures: 6 September 2019: file:///C:/Users/Ladislau%20Dowbor/Downloads/BRT-Statement-on-the-Purpose-of-a-Corporation-with-Signatures-1.pdf.
 https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/western-advisers-helped-an-autocrats-daughter-amass-and-shield-a-fortune/ (accessed 14 April 2020).
 How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice – It is absurd that the working class is now paying higher tax rates than the richest people in America. By Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/opinion/sunday/wealth-income-tax-rate.html (accessed 9 April 2020).
 We present an overview of these studies in Dowbor 2019: http://dowbor.org/2012/06/the-age-of-unproductive-capital-new-architectures-of-power.html/ (accessed 9 April 2020)